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house Bill H.R. 1957

Modernizing the IRS With the Taxpayer First Act

Argument in favor

This commonsense, bipartisan bill would modernize the IRS for the first time in decades by improving the independent appeals process, taxpayers services, and enforcement.

Linda's Opinion
···
04/09/2019
Good. Maybe now the IRS will be able to see through #45’s lifetime of tax evasion.
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Hillary's Opinion
···
04/09/2019
I’ve just read some more about this. It appears that the IRS has a free program to electronically file one’s taxes. This bill, while containing many great things, would essentially sign a “no compete” clause with companies like the one that owns Turbo Tax thus giving those for profit companies a giant boost. They have a proviso that certain income levels would be allowed to file for free but that group is bound to get screwed over by these big businesses.
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Ron's Opinion
···
04/07/2019
The IRS cannot be left to the ravages of an ancient set of computers (ancient in today's world is measured in less-than-a-decade increments). There may be reasons this particular bill doesn't make sense (I haven't studied it in detail) but generally what I'm aware of is that most of government is running on obsolete hardware and software. Just for security reasons alone, this must be corrected.
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Argument opposed

Lawmakers in Congress from both sides of the aisle should leave the IRS alone, it may not be perfect but there’s no need for this sweeping of a modernization.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
04/09/2019
Edit: having researched this bill some more, I have changed my mind. This bill bans the development of FreeFile and enshrines the tax preparation industry as the holders of all electronic tax filing code. I heartily disapprove of that. This bill is pushing the burden of tax paperwork off onto private companies. Tax collection shouldn’t be privatized. That path is rife with abuse as plenty of history has shown. Whether I pay more or less in taxes aside, I WANT A EASIER TAX PROCESS! I don’t know why we “the citizens” have to file anything anymore anyway. The government already gets all the information. Why do we still do it? The IRS has pretty much all of the information they need to fill out our tax return, so why don’t they just send us a partly or fully completed return for our review? I want something like the return free filing system they have in Spain. I mean, we already don’t do our property taxes ourselves? So why income? You’d figure typical deficit-hawk conservatives would be happy to save the money the IRS wastes every year confronting the American taxpayer’s inability to subtract correctly. And in fact Ronald Reagan himself endorsed return-free filing in 1985. The likely reason for the resistance is that the proposed set-up would make tax “simplification” —lopping off upper tax brackets, mainly—a much harder sell. If you’re trying to paint U.S. taxation as hopelessly burdensome, the last thing you want to see is the IRS transformed into an agency that just mails Americans a refund check automatically every year. Meanwhile, special-interest groups are in the trenches trying to shoot down return-free pilot plans. In 2005, California adopted a program called ReadyReturn, which allows qualified residents to opt for a pre-completed tax return rather than fill out their own. The state estimates that the new process has saved millions a year in prep fees and about a half a mil in government administrative costs, and taxpayers who’ve used the service are overwhelmingly pleased. Thing is, not many Californians take advantage of it—in 2012, only 90,000 out of the approximately one million eligible—and officials complain they've had a hard time getting the word out. That’s because software manufacturer Intuit, the maker of the prep app TurboTax, wants it that way: according to a 2013 investigation by the nonprofit journalism outfit ProPublica, the company spent more than $3 million in lobbying and campaign contributions between 2005 and 2009 fighting ReadyReturn. Intuit didn’t manage to kill the program outright, but the state’s budget for marketing it was cut to a dinky $10,000. Perhaps wary of incurring the deep-pocketed wrath of Big Tax-Prep and its pseudo-“small-government” allies, other states have seemingly been in no big hurry to follow California’s example. But the dream remains alive in D.C.—last April, Elizabeth Warren became the latest senator to propose (doomed) legislation introducing return-free filing. Somehow, I don’t see a lot of progress on this front any time soon. Being evidently opposed to paying any taxes at all, our president seems unlikely to expend much effort on making it simpler to do.
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Boris's Opinion
···
04/09/2019
Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax. https://www.propublica.org/article/congress-is-about-to-ban-the-government-from-offering-free-online-tax-filing-thank-turbotax#160011
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trettels's Opinion
···
04/09/2019
This bill prohibits the IRS from implementing its own free e-file system, leaving in place the free options from tax preparation companies such as Intuit’s TurboTax. However, these companies use misleading language throughout the process to try to convince the tax filer that they need to pay for the upgraded versions. Making this situation the only possibility is a terrible idea.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedMarch 28th, 2019
    Good. Maybe now the IRS will be able to see through #45’s lifetime of tax evasion.
    Like (39)
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    Edit: having researched this bill some more, I have changed my mind. This bill bans the development of FreeFile and enshrines the tax preparation industry as the holders of all electronic tax filing code. I heartily disapprove of that. This bill is pushing the burden of tax paperwork off onto private companies. Tax collection shouldn’t be privatized. That path is rife with abuse as plenty of history has shown. Whether I pay more or less in taxes aside, I WANT A EASIER TAX PROCESS! I don’t know why we “the citizens” have to file anything anymore anyway. The government already gets all the information. Why do we still do it? The IRS has pretty much all of the information they need to fill out our tax return, so why don’t they just send us a partly or fully completed return for our review? I want something like the return free filing system they have in Spain. I mean, we already don’t do our property taxes ourselves? So why income? You’d figure typical deficit-hawk conservatives would be happy to save the money the IRS wastes every year confronting the American taxpayer’s inability to subtract correctly. And in fact Ronald Reagan himself endorsed return-free filing in 1985. The likely reason for the resistance is that the proposed set-up would make tax “simplification” —lopping off upper tax brackets, mainly—a much harder sell. If you’re trying to paint U.S. taxation as hopelessly burdensome, the last thing you want to see is the IRS transformed into an agency that just mails Americans a refund check automatically every year. Meanwhile, special-interest groups are in the trenches trying to shoot down return-free pilot plans. In 2005, California adopted a program called ReadyReturn, which allows qualified residents to opt for a pre-completed tax return rather than fill out their own. The state estimates that the new process has saved millions a year in prep fees and about a half a mil in government administrative costs, and taxpayers who’ve used the service are overwhelmingly pleased. Thing is, not many Californians take advantage of it—in 2012, only 90,000 out of the approximately one million eligible—and officials complain they've had a hard time getting the word out. That’s because software manufacturer Intuit, the maker of the prep app TurboTax, wants it that way: according to a 2013 investigation by the nonprofit journalism outfit ProPublica, the company spent more than $3 million in lobbying and campaign contributions between 2005 and 2009 fighting ReadyReturn. Intuit didn’t manage to kill the program outright, but the state’s budget for marketing it was cut to a dinky $10,000. Perhaps wary of incurring the deep-pocketed wrath of Big Tax-Prep and its pseudo-“small-government” allies, other states have seemingly been in no big hurry to follow California’s example. But the dream remains alive in D.C.—last April, Elizabeth Warren became the latest senator to propose (doomed) legislation introducing return-free filing. Somehow, I don’t see a lot of progress on this front any time soon. Being evidently opposed to paying any taxes at all, our president seems unlikely to expend much effort on making it simpler to do.
    Like (109)
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    Congress Is About to Ban the Government From Offering Free Online Tax Filing. Thank TurboTax. https://www.propublica.org/article/congress-is-about-to-ban-the-government-from-offering-free-online-tax-filing-thank-turbotax#160011
    Like (33)
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    Share
    I’ve just read some more about this. It appears that the IRS has a free program to electronically file one’s taxes. This bill, while containing many great things, would essentially sign a “no compete” clause with companies like the one that owns Turbo Tax thus giving those for profit companies a giant boost. They have a proviso that certain income levels would be allowed to file for free but that group is bound to get screwed over by these big businesses.
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill prohibits the IRS from implementing its own free e-file system, leaving in place the free options from tax preparation companies such as Intuit’s TurboTax. However, these companies use misleading language throughout the process to try to convince the tax filer that they need to pay for the upgraded versions. Making this situation the only possibility is a terrible idea.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    The IRS cannot be left to the ravages of an ancient set of computers (ancient in today's world is measured in less-than-a-decade increments). There may be reasons this particular bill doesn't make sense (I haven't studied it in detail) but generally what I'm aware of is that most of government is running on obsolete hardware and software. Just for security reasons alone, this must be corrected.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    One thing I would like to see added to this is a complete overhaul of the tax return system. The IRS does not need us to file our taxes. They know how much we paid and what we owe or are owed. Frankly, it would be more efficient for them to just send us a document to review and update if needed than to have us file, then they check our work. Intuit and other tax preparation companies have blocked this for decades and frankly, to hell with them. Let’s make government work for the people instead of for the dollar.
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    Yes pass the tax payer first act. We need all of the loopholes closed. It's time congress does things to help the average person. Their hardware & software needs to be updated.
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    The tax payer is the boss. Politicians are the employees. Fire all lobbyists. Vote out all the politicians who support a tyrant for president. Keep them honest, get Bureaucratic red tape out of politics. The money flowing through each of these parties can be better used to serve the people.
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    I like my free tax filing. No thanks.
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    👍🏻👍🏻 “LEWIS” House Bill H.R 1957 AKA “Taxpayer First Act” 👍🏻👍🏻 I’m in strong agreement with and recommend the passage of “LEWIS” House Bill H.R 1957 AKA the “Taxpayer First Act” which would aim to modernize the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) information technology systems, infrastructure, and services to improve taxpayers’ experience with the agency. It would codify an independent appeals process for taxpayers, bolster enforcement of tax laws, and reform the tax court. This commonsense, bipartisan bill would modernize the IRS for the first time in decades by improving the independent appeals process, taxpayers services, and enforcement. I’m rarely in agreement with Representative LEWIS, but do on this LEGISLATIVE BILL. SneakyPete..... 👍🏻👍🏻H.R.1951👍🏻👍🏻. 4*8*19.....
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    Most of these reforms are good. However, a part of this bill that’s deeply troubling is that it prevents the IRS from creating its own free filing program! This is a disgrace and an obvious giveaway to tax preparation companies! The IRS needs to offer a free filing program that’s not tied to tax preparation companies. Taxpayers should be able to file their taxes easily and for free without any strings attached.
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    I support reforming the IRS and making it more customer oriented, but there is one BIG problem with this bill. It does not create a free tax filing option for all taxpayers, and it requires most taxpayers to have to pay for a professional filing service. A bill that truly puts the American taxpayer first would not solidify into law a requirement for any American to have to pay for a third party filing system. Give Americans the ability to file directly with the IRS themselves for free, along with the other reforms listed in this bill.
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    I support all provisions of this bill with one HUGE exception: the IT provisions should require the IRS to develop a government free federal tax e-file system to eliminate the middleman between the taxpayers and the IRS.
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    “Limited information sharing”, 52 million dollars to the deficit, REQUIRES any one with 10 or more businesses to file online-The IRS has already shown they can be weaponized against conservatives, putting anything electronic makes it more vulnerable and again adding more to the backs of the taxpayers. No more!
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    Vote yes on modernizing the IRS per this bill.
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    The IRS is probably the least trustworthy, most disdainful, government agencies. ANY help, will be better for ALL Americans. Including the top 1%, and of course The Pussydent!
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    Obama used the IRS against the conservatives. Don’t trust IRS or Democrats. No more bills cut spending.
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    Originally I had supported this bill, I thought it was a great idea on the surface, but as I had dug into it more, I began to uncover some very troubling things in the “fine print”. Essentially, the Taxpayer First Act is not an effort to “modernize the IRS” as the bill and Countable says; it’s in fact, an underhanded way to screw over the American people, allowing corporations like Intuit and H&R Block to monetize and monopolize our taxes and tax season even more than they already do. The government (IRS) has EVERYTHING they need to just send us a message saying, “Hey, you owe ‘x’ amount this year.” Or, “Hey, you’re getting back ‘y’ amount this year.” But they don’t. They outsource our private information to companies whose singular goal is to suck as much money from us as possible. To quote Popular Science: “Tucked away in section 1102 of the bill, which relates to the IRS Free File Program that ensures fee-free filing for people under a certain income threshold, is language that subtly prevents the IRS for developing its own system by mandating that the agency continue to work with the private sector in this endeavor. In other words, the legislation locks us all into the status quo.” Also, less than 3% of people even qualify for the Free File program, which is already shrouded behind shady advertisements and practices trying to cover it up and direct you towards more “premium” tax filing programs. Of course, to fix this would require that we invest a little in the IRS, but if we follow a model like that of Finland or Norway, our tax season would be a beautiful, practically automated breeze, and maybe even something to look forward to, instead of shy away from. To summarize: Yes! We should be doing our best to eliminate loopholes, modernize the IRS’s hardware and software. We should be creating secure firewalls and open-source, high quality code so that we are further protected from hacking and theft at all levels of government! To fix our problems requires not just common sense changes, but forward thinking and teamwork, which will serve us much better in the end anyway! Finally, under no circumstances should Congress be trying to make secretive, underhanded plays in the “fine print” of a bill! That’s just not cool (but not surprising, unfortunately). Congress (and our government, by extension) should be doing their best to protect the American people from companies who would prey on us, not serve us and our private information on a silver platter! ‘Nuff said!
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    Yes, the IRS needs modernization. It is a mess! It takes forever for anything to get done. I'm sure the IRS employees would like to have an easier time doing their work.
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